Monday 20 November 2017

'Lucky' Miriam refuses to get hung up on row over pay

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

PRESENTER Miriam O'Callaghan has revealed that her charity work has shown her how hard life can be for many people -- and just how fortunate she is.

The RTE broadcaster and mother of eight yesterday visited St Michael's House Special School in Baldoyle, Co Dublin, to see how one little girl's life has been transformed thanks to a €20,000 computer which was funded by a group of Lions Clubs.

Aoife Williamson (8), from Artane, has cerebral palsy, cannot speak and has difficulty communicating.

However, the new speech-generating device, which she operates by using her gaze on a screen, has enabled her to talk to her family and friends for the first time.

Speaking at the event, Ms O'Callaghan said she couldn't offer enough praise to the people who paid for Aoife's device.

"I spend so much of my life going out to charity events. I realise how hard life is for so many people. I think I am quite a lucky person," she said.

Ms O'Callaghan yesterday launched the new 'Lions Clubs of Ireland' national magazine which features Aoife's story.

There are 116 Lions Clubs with 2,600 members throughout Ireland, who support the poor and the vulnerable in a variety of voluntary community projects.

Asked afterwards about the lucrative salaries enjoyed by RTE's top stars, Ms O'Callaghan said she was prepared to agree to any drop in fees.

"I took a cut before, and I am happy to take whatever the director general says is fair," she said.

However, she refused to be drawn on remarks made earlier this week by her colleague Joe Duffy, who claimed there was a "witch hunt" with regard to pay levels at the national broadcaster.

"I don't have any comment as regards any of the other presenters.

"I love and respect them all," she said.

Speaking last night at the premiere of Edna O'Brien's play 'The Country Girls' at the Gaiety Theatre, veteran 2fm DJ Larry Gogan said of RTE stars' much debated salaries: "I think it's fair, whatever they get. If you bring in listeners, you should be paid for it.

"Joe Duffy is certainly worth the money, he does a great programme, and Pat Kenny is brilliant. I think they (the RTE presenters) should all be left alone by the media.

"People say they're getting too well paid but they are doing a good job,"

Irish Independent

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